The consumption of energy drinks is becoming popular among young people and this is not without consequences for their health. These drinks enriched with caffeine, taurine or active plant extracts cause side effects ranging from heart palpitations, sleep disorders, headaches to convulsions.
According to a study published in the journal of the Canadian Medical Association, CMAJ Open by researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada, energy drinks have a proven impact on more than half of young consumers.
55% of energy drink consumers experience negative side effects
The study, involving 2,055 young Canadians, indicates that half of the patients who consumed energy drinks would have noticed worrying symptoms. Thus, 25% of patients would have observed an acceleration of their heart rate, 24% difficulty sleeping, 18% headaches, 5% nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, 4% chest pain and 0.2 % reported having had seizures.
According to the website of the National Health Security Agency (Anses), in France 200 cases of adverse effects linked to energy drinks have already been reported: chest pain, tachycardia, hypertension, heart rhythm disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, epilepsy…
Sometimes unrecognized stimulants
If the dangerous effects of caffeine are well known, other stimulants such as taurine, sugar or certain plant extracts such as mate or guarana would have harmful effects at high doses.
Worse effects with alcohol consumption
According to the study authors, the way these stimulants are consumed could also have an aggravating effect, for example when mixed with alcohol or during physical activity. The authors say they are concerned about the way these energy drinks are marketed and promoted to young people and warn that “too little effort is being made to limit their consumption among children and young people”.
In France, the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) has advised against the consumption of energy drinks for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.